Monthly Archives: November 2013

MOON

In one of Ai Weiwei’s latest artistic ventures, he teams up with iconic artist Olafur Eliasson to create a crowd-based collaborative project titled ‘Moon’.

Moon

Moon

Within this interactive website, anybody sitting behind a computer can leave their mark on the ‘Moon‘. Of this collaborative piece, Weiwei and Eliasson explain:

“Touch the moon by drawing on it – a vision, doodle, statement, a greeting, thought. . . your drawing is a hinge between you, everyone else, and the universe.”
Moon - detail

Moon – detail

This work becomes something of a gigantic, universal graffiti wall, where virtual visitors from all over the world are invited to illustrate whatever they like onto this interactive canvas. This collaboration between each contributing artist allows for a way to connect to like-minded souls from all over the globe and be a part of something extraordinary.

“Celebrate with us the gathering of creative powers from around the globe to mark the passage from nothing to something and from thinking into doing. Savour this moment of transformation. Leave your fingerprint and see the shared moon grow as others reach out too. Let’s show the world that together our marks matter. Creativity defies boundaries.”
Moon - overview

Moon – overview

“Ideas, wind, and air no one can stop.”

All images © Ai Weiwei & Olafur Eliasson

Leave your mark on the moon here.

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INTERVIEW: Denise Hamilton

We are in the second week of ‘Harmony’ by Denise Hamilton and Nuray Yigiter, here at the Strand Gallery. Read our interview with our exhibiting artist Denise to find out a bit more about her artistic journey, her influences and the process she undertakes to create her artworks.

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Hello Denise! When was your first encounter with art and how has your journey as an artist evolved since then?

In 1984 I took a course in Fine Art Studies that allowed me to explore different techniques, ranging from photography to sculpture, engraving and painting.  After five years of studying, I worked as a Graphic Designer, but felt the absence of creativity and spontaneity of pictorial art. During these last years, I continued to research my own style, by working with mixed media and discovering subjects I liked to experiment with at the same time.

 What are the main themes that inspire your works and how do you tend to explore them in your paintings?

My main themes are nature and the space that surrounds us. I like to combine observation with memories and emotions. Nature challenges us to interpret it in a personal way and my paintings do not constitute reproduction of realism rather than the expression of my own feelings.

 Are there any artists that you admire and believe that have influenced your work and how?

Among many artists that inspire me, Wassily Kandinsky stands out for his way of perceiving art and Paul Cezanne for his colours as well as Gerhard Richter, who for me is a master of techniques. Every time I visit a gallery I am amazed and discover new aspects of artists. I find it most refreshing and inspiring to visit exhibitions as well as read about art.

 What process do you follow when creating a painting or work of art?

With a combination of memories, emotions, photographs and observation, I create a “first stage” image. The original drawing or sketch helps me to achieve a composition which is not always definitive until I decide the palette of colours. I spend a good amount of time choosing the combination of colours as well as figuring out the lights and shades.

Are you currently working on new art works and what are your plans for the future?

Exhibiting for the first time in a gallery in London has been a boost of inspiration and motivation. I do have works in progress, but having shared my paintings with people gives me new ideas to develop.

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If you were inspired by Denise’s interview, visit her website here for more information. You can still visit ‘Harmony’ by Denise Hamilton and Nuray Yigiter at the Strand Gallery until Saturday 23rd of November.

SPOTLIGHT: Jieun Park

To continue our exploration of interesting takes within the paint world, todays Spotlight falls on Jieun Park and her surreal cityscapes.

Jieun Park

Jieun Park

Inspired by her love of travel, Park explores cityscapes in a way that expressed all ranges of emotion from excitement to loneliness in a way that is as intriguing as it is beautiful. Her feelings of the particular city Park is visiting are portrayed through the abstract brush strokes which seem to act as a reveal of the bustling scene behind them.

Jieun Park

Jieun Park

Park’s collision of abstraction and realism creates something far more intricate and personal than a simple cityscape. She is quoted as saying

“The city is changing very fast while we are living our busy lives. The dull feeling of the buildings in my works portraits the people in hectic daily life where only meaningless everyday conversation exists.”

So although there is a complete lack of people within the paintings, their metaphoriacal presence is actually reflected through their absence and Park’s commentary on society.

Jieun Park

Jieun Park

Further examples of Park’s work can be seen on her website here.

SPOTLIGHT: Stan Brakhage

Following from our post looking into the realm of the ‘Hyperreal’, we are continuing to explore avenues of painting we haven’t typically discussed within our online features. The world of moving image is something we don’t typically host at the gallery so this immediately presented itself as a phenomenon worth investigating. Through this research we came across Stan Brakhage, an artist working from 1952 – 2003, who experimented with both moving image and paint. Perfect! The piece below from 1987 is titled ‘The Dante Quartet’, and is simply astounding.

Divided into four parts, ‘The Dante Quartet’ explores the realms of Hell, Purgatory and Heaven, acting as a sort of visual representation (or interpretation, you be the judge) of the seminal literary wonder, Dante’s Divine Comedy. However what we found most intriguing about Brakhage’s piece is his personal affiliation with the words of Dante:

“Then comes a moment when suddenly I can’t handle the language anymore, like I can’t read one more translation of The Divine Comedy, and suddenly I realize it’s in my eyes all the time, that I have a vision of Hell, I have even more necessary kind of a way of getting out of Hell, kind of a springboard in my thinking, closing my eyes and thinking what I’m seeing […] and also purgation, that I can go through the stages of purging the self, of trying to become pure, free of these ghastly visions, and then there is something that’s as close to Heaven as I would hope to aspire to, which I call “existence is song”. And that all of that was in my eyes all the time, backfiring all these years. It’s lovely that I can have the language, but I also have a visual corollary of it, but that is a story.”
Stan Brakhage - 'The Dante Quartet' film still

Stan Brakhage – ‘The Dante Quartet’ film still

It would then appear that Brakhage is producing this experimental film to rid himself of these visions of Hell, creating a new form of poetry in itself. Taking six years to produce, this 8-minute piece involved Brakhage painting directly onto lengths film to create the incredible montage of still images we see fleeting before our eyes. The piece became a very personal journey for Brakhage, who went through a marital breakdown intertwined with a personal crisis, so realted to each stage of the film on a very deep level.

“I made Hell Itself during the breakup with Jane Brakhage and the collapse of my whole life, so I got to know quite well the streaming of the hypnagogic that’s hellish. Now the body can not only feed back its sense of being in hell but also its getting out of hell, and Hell Spit Flexion shows the way out – it’s there as crowbar to lift one out of hell toward the transformatory state – purgatory. And finally there’s a fourth state that’s fleeting. I’ve called the last part existence is song quoting Rilke, because I don’t want to presume upon the after-life and call it Heaven.”
Stan Brakhage

Stan Brakhage

As well as being aesthetically incredible, Brakhage has created a deeply poignant piece, and we here at The Strand cannot help but be mesmerised at this beautiful film and the message it delivers.

All images and film © Stan Brakhage

SPOTLIGHT: Michael Ward

While ‘Harmony’ is currently on display here at the Strand gallery, we have been looking at inspiring artists whose realistic paintings combine a mixture of bold colours and character. Today’s Spotlight falls on American artist Michael Ward who first started painting in the 1980’s. He is a self-taught painter and most of his work is based on photographs taken and collected by him over the years.

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Liquor Liquor © Michael Ward

Ward finds inspiration in artists such as Edward Hopper, Charles Shoeler and Richard Este. Like Toni Silber-Delerive and Leslie Graff, Ward’s work is about looking for meaning in everyday things or places that we usually take for granted. His paintings, that look as realistic as  photographs, enable his audience to find meaning in the ordinary and the familiar.

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Field & Stream © Michael Ward

Michael Ward’s paintings have been displayed in numerous exhibitions and galleries in Los Angeles, California and elsewhere. He is currently working on a new series of paintings of houses that explore concepts of both the intimate and shared themes of memory and experience. For more information visit his website here.

Come and visit our current exhibition ‘Harmony’ by Denise Hamilton and Nuray Yigiter which will be on display until the 24th of November.

SPOTLIGHT: Leslie Graff

Following our previous Spotlight on painter Toni Silber- Delerive, we are inspired by artists that explore figurative art and realism in their works. Today’s Spotlight falls on American painter Leslie Graff who focuses on domestic life and women’s role in society.

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It’s a treat © Leslie Graff

Although her series of self-portraits are contemporary depictions, they borrow elements of pin up art and the expressive colours of pop art. Graff’s ability to draw from other periods of time enables her to explore the timelessness and universality of her subject matter within culture and history.

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Soft & Clean © Leslie Graff

Her self-portraits focus on the domestic action or task, deliberately excluding the face and thus become open to discussion. Through her paintings, Graff asks universal questions about subjects that we all can relate but that are personal to each individual according to their experiences. Her work can also be seen as symbolic and her everyday representations explore the priorities, expectations and relationships within family life.

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Sparkling Clean © Leslie Graff

Leslie Graff holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree from Brigham Young University and has also done additional art training at the Worchester Art Museum and RISD. Her works have been displayed in several group and solo exhibitions and she has been featured in Literary Journal and Segullah amongst other publications. For more information on this artist visit her website here.

Visit our current exhibition ‘Harmony’ by Denise Hamilton and Nuray Yigiter which will be on display until the 24th of November.

HYPERREAL

Our current exhibition, ‘Harmony’, brought to the gallery by Denise Hamilton and Nuray Yigiter explores various themes through the medium of paint. However today’s feature will not necessarily explore the themes that Denise and Nuray look into, but will rather investigate a type of painting itself that we at The Strand Gallery find wildly interesting – Hyperrealism.

© Chuck Close

© Chuck Close

Possibly one of the most well known Hyperrealist paintings of all time comes in the form of the above self portrait from Chuck Close, an absolute master of the field. The term ‘Hyperreal’ is defined as being ‘exaggerated in comparison to reality’ – or ‘extremely realistic in detail’ when used within the art world – and it is a skill that only a select few can truly cultivate.

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The pure wonder of hyperrealist works comes from the fact that the amount of sheer talent necessary to pull off a piece of hand-painted work so terrifyingly realistic is just unfathomable. The above works by Jason de Graaf are so astoundingly good it’s quite scary. What we at the gallery love most about pieces like this is seeing them in the flesh and just not even believeing that they’re paintings – that is the sign of a true artist. Much like the next collection by Victor Rodriguez

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These pieces by Brooklyn-based Rodriguez are another collection that we find simply amazing. Scrolling through these pieces is enough to make even the most talented of artists green with envy.

SPOTLIGHT: Toni Silber-Delerive

Still influenced by Horace Panter’s pop art style and vivid colours, today’s spotlight focuses on Toni Silber- Delerive, a  Manhattan based artist and graphic designer. Born in Philadelphia, she studied painting at the Philadelphia College of Art and graphic design at the School of Visual Arts. Her work includes figurative art as well as paintings of aerial landscapes and food.

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Oxfordshire, England ©Toni Silber-Delerive

Toni’s landscapes are constructed by acrylic structures that do not overlook dimension but their composition manages to diminish depth and distance. The realistic details that one expects become one with the dominating shapes on the canvas, combining elements of simplicity and the abstract.  Her figurative work is inspired mainly from family pictures and has a playful and sometimes humorous approach to the universality of human habits and aspirations.

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Cheeseburger and Fries ©Toni Silber-Delerive

Toni finds inspiration in nature exploring the relationship of the natural and the man-made as well as looking at elements of meaning in everyday events, places or objects that we usually take for granted. However her paintings are stories, open for the audience’s imagination and interpretation.

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Couple Sunbathing ©Toni Silber-Delerive

Toni Silber- Delerive has exhibited her works in a variety of group and solo shows in the USA and Germany. For more information on this artist visit her website here.

Don’t forget to visit our current exhibition ‘Harmony’ by Denise Hamilton and Nuray Yigiter, open until the 24th of November.

COMING UP: ‘Harmony’ by Denise Hamilton and Nuray Yigiter

The Strand Gallery is pleased to announce the upcoming exhibition ‘Harmony’ by artists Denise Hamilton and Nuray Yigiter. Their paintings combine a variety of thematic and material elements while capturing the moment in pattern of colours that betray emotion, memory and most importantly a sensation of harmony.

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© Denise Hamilton

Denise Hamilton’s works are inspired by nature, movement and light and focus on the detail of an instant in time. This makes her paintings products of a long period of hard work and improvisation in order to imprison a moment that accentuates the atmosphere that envelopes it rather than the actual reality that is represented.

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© Nuray Yigiter

Nuray Yigiter’s works find their inspiration in motion and the human body. Her experiences are what make her the artist that she is and are the dominant theme of her paintings. Her expressive colours fabricate her ethereal silhouettes onto the canvas in a way that connect their forms to their surroundings. Both painters’ brushstrokes give a feeling of motion and abstraction making the works up to some level conceptual and non representational.

You can visit Denise Hamilton‘s and Nuray Yigiter‘s websites for more information.

Their exhibition ‘Harmony’ will be on display at the Strand Gallery from the 11th -24th of November.

SPOTLIGHT: Amelia Fais Harnas

As Horance Panter’s exhibition ‘The Writing is on the Wall’ is coming to an end, we are looking at more icon inspired art. Portland based artist Amelia Fais Harnas approaches themes of iconography in a very unique technique a fresh angle and impressive skill.

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Self Portrait as Saint Pompette © Amelia Fais Harnas

She uses wine in order to create her stunning portraits of different people on fabric. The characters portrayed are perhaps equally difficult to reveal as is the wine stain to be controlled and shaped. Amelia Fais Harnas uses a wax resist in order to create the shades of wine patterns fabricating her portraits on the cloth. She also sometimes uses embroidery and machine sewing to add to the final result. Her works however have a more fragile nature to other artworks and require more care and attention for the material to last.

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The Three Graces © Amelia Fais Harnas

Harna’s work can be associated with iconography mostly for her main material: the wine. Her works often depict people drinking a glass of wine which perhaps can be seen as a reference to the New Testament story of the Last Supper or the Shroud of Turin. Besides the Christian suggestions the wine might also refer to Greek mythology and the ancient belief of the wine as ‘the nectar of the gods’. All of these references as well as the wine stained or embroidery designed hallows suggest that the characters depicted are saint-like or immortal. Arguably her works illustrate some kind of sanctification.

Visit Amelia Fais Harna’s website here for more information.